Supporting Army Soldiers, Civilians, and their Families with Information Technology (IT)
May 12, 2010
By LTG Lynch
The Installation Management Community is committed to leveraging the power of technology to expand our communication capabilities and enhance our ability to serve and support Solders, Civilians, and Families. In today's world, IT is at the core of all we do at work, at home, and at play. Smaller, more powerful, and less expensive IT products hit the market every day. Becoming savvy with state-of-the-art technology helps us work smarter, learn more efficiently, and play harder.
Over the past six months, I have visited many garrisons, listening to many members of the Army Family to better understand how they prefer to receive information and communicate. Because more than 75 percent communicate and retrieve information through the Internet and other electronic means, I now communicate through my Facebook page and the IMCOM Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube sites. This implements the Deputy Secretary of Defense, 25 February 2010, memorandum that requires DOD unclassified networks be configured for Internet-based capabilities like YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Google Apps.
Because IT is so critical to how we do business and communicate, I have made IT one of the focus areas of the Services and Infrastructure Core Enterprise (SICE) in my role as co-lead of the SICE board. SICE is a collaborative and cross-functional team of more than 15 commands, organizations, and staff offices formed to develop solutions to Army-wide challenges. Presently, the SICE team is developing plans to modernize and standardize IT services on Army installations. The results will enhance delivery of IT in the deployment process, training, and programs such as Comprehensive Soldier Fitness. Also, look for improved IT to lead to improvements on how we deliver on our promises of the Army Family Covenant and Army Community Covenant.
The most important components of IT -- telecommunications, information assurance (IA), and data processing - tie into every aspect of installation management. We use telecommunications to connect Soldiers to their Families by video teleconference when they deploy. Tech-smart Soldiers and Family members use it when they 'tweet' to friends and family through their Twitter accounts. Information assurance (IA) measures and practices reduce risk and ensures our communication and information remain secure from malicious attacks. IA enables Soldiers and Civilians to communicate with Government-issued Blackberries, knowing conversations are secure from unauthorized individuals. Most of us use data processing to manage our bits and bytes of information each day when we work on desktop computers, laptops, scanners and copiers. And, cell phones may be the most powerful device of all since they incorporate all three of these IT components.
Every day, the universe of IT products expands. Mobile handheld devices like the current generation of smartphones open up possibilities only dreamed of a few years ago. The convergence of cell phones, digital cameras, music players, GPS, video games, camcorders, electronic book readers and mobile web browsers rapidly change how we communicate and interact.
As the IMCOM commander, I am dedicated to embracing these new, exciting technologies and adapting them to continue to be ahead of the curve in supporting Soldier, Civilian, and Family well-being and mission readiness. Each generation of Soldiers brings a valuable, new perspective to the Army. It is up to us to stay in step with communication capabilities that are in synch with a quality of life commensurate with service.
We Are the Army's Home.